Today, our fellow Kiwanian Willie Stewart was honored as the Tacoma Peace Laureate by the Greater Tacoma Peace Prize. The award was presented at Pacific Lutheran University, September 20, 2019. Many Kiwanians attended in their respect for this man.
The Greater Tacoma Peace Prize was founded in 2005 and the area is the only one with a laureate recognized by the Norwegian Nobel Institute. The winner receives a trip to Oslo, Norway, to attend Nobel Peace Prize events.
Willie’s remarks were humble, containing humor as is his hallmark with his accolades to those organizations that gave him the opportunity to serve and to lead.
His remarks began in tribute to his mother, who bade him on leading the Army to stay in Washington, close to the President. He laughed and others joined him in noting she was somewhat geographically challenged in this motherly advice.
Locally, his professional life began with challenges. He noted that small districts were beginning to integrate but not yet retaining black male teachers. He credited Les Hoar, Tacoma Public School District 10, for hiring him as a teacher May, 1960 for Gault Junior High. And, he thanked Sandy Mazzei, in attendance tonight, as his mentor at Gault and Lincoln High School. Sandy also encouraged him to get involved in the community and supported his activities.
He became a founding member of the Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc., Iota Mu Lambda Chapter in 1969.
His was admitted to membership and community leadership in 1970 with the Kiwanis Club of Tacoma and the Boys’ Club of Tacoma and Pierce County (Boys and Girls Club of South Puget Sound).
Other community involvement and leadership followed in which he remains active:
1971: Tacoma Athletic Commission
1977: National Football Foundation Chapter
1983: Palmer Scholars
1986: American Cancer Society Relay for Life (started by Kiwanian Dr. Gordon Klatt)
1991: Tacoma Prostate Cancer Support Group
1995: Urban Grace (Church) Community Breakfast
1999-2005: Tacoma School Board
2000: Willie Stewart Community Scholarship
2006: Citizens Audit Committee, Tacoma Public Schools
2012: Buffalo Soldiers Museum
These organizations’ representatives were in attendance tonight to honor Willie C. Stewart, Sr.
A retired US Army veteran, Willie’s remarks did not include his professional educational organizations involvement, nor his volunteerism with military groups nor specificity with his Kiwanis involvement. However, many of these aspects of Willie’s community contributions and leadership can be seen in the PowerPoint that accompanied the evening’s ceremonies.